In our previous half dozen stays through Harvest Hosts, we have had nothing but rave reviews, so we should have known something was bound to happen. As we continued our journey across southern Wyoming from Colorado to Idaho, we wanted to make the trip quickly, with only 1-night stays before arriving in Rexburg for a week. So, as I always do when we only want a quick stay, I checked the Harvest Hosts website.
We contacted the host 2 months in advance of our stay, sent our requested date, followed up with our account information when requested, and our stay was confirmed. When we pulled in, we saw several campers set up in front of the brewery and assumed that we would be joining them shortly. I had reached out to the contact we had booked with earlier in the day but had not heard back, so I went into the bustling brewery to find out our next steps.
As I had provided our name and information when I initially requested a stay, I was taken aback when this information was not verified, but I rolled with it. The hostess welcomed me and then promptly directed me down the hill, behind the brewery, about a mile down a narrow dirt road to BLM land where there is dispersed camping. I was flummoxed and had no idea what to do, so that is what we did.
We slowly made our way down the dirt road and pulled into an area being habited by around 20 other campers and upwards of 60 people. Part of the charm of Harvest Hosts is that you camp with only a few other campers and people, and we have typically had nice conversations with these folks wherever we are staying. The BLM land did not have any of this charm. Also, we were now about a mile from the brewery, so what was the point of even giving them our business?
Unlike our first experience on BLM land, this was 100% dispersed camping (i.e., park wherever and however you want). We found a spot we were more or less comfortable with and weighed our options. I again tried contacting the point person I had dealt with before to let them know that we really wanted to stay at their property and support their brewery, but we never heard back.
Meanwhile, Daisy, who was battling a stomach bug, puked all over the inside of the truck (including my purse), compounding the fun and stress. (She is doing fine now, but it was a rough few days for the poor girl.)
After weighing our options (staying where we were or finding another dispersed camping area), we set up where we were and settled in for the night.
While we were incredibly disappointed to have to cook our own dinner (we had planned on eating at the brewery), we actually had a very pleasant night with incredible views of the lake. The lakeshore was not inviting and nearly cost me a sandal, but Bird seemed to understand the mud trying to suck me into the earth was not conducive to playing in the water, so she was content to dig in the sand around the camper and explore the vast open area between us and the brewery.
We were bummed to have our first negative Harvest Hosts experience, especially when the brewery came highly recommended from friends who know the area and had been there before, but we ended up saving money by not staying or eating and drinking there, so maybe it was a win after all? We also enjoyed some pretty fabulous views and a quiet morning before our final leg to Idaho.
(Our 1 negative experience does not at all change our opinion of Harvest Hosts, and we have several stays lined up for later this summer. This membership is 100% worth it!)